Early August saw the release of Pleasure’s first single on UK label Circus. The aptly titled “Don’t look the other way” single that features former Elastica front-woman Justine Frischmann, caused quite a stir in the UK media upon its release. A few review quotes bodes well for the album’s reception: “Global domination soon to follow!” (Piers Martin –Vice UK). “A definite one to watch!” (NME)
Despite a quite non-Scandinavian sounding name, Pleasure is actually 25-year old Norwegian producer/songwriter Fred Ball who hails from the south-western town of Fredrikstad in Norway. He has spent the last six years in London, networking ferociously to recruit vocal assistance for his debut album. The line-up of contributors to his album is nothing but impressive: Ed Harcourt, Justine Frischmann (of Elastica fame), Catatonia’s Cerys Matthews as well as former Prince cohort and trusted synth wizard Dr. Fink all figure on the albums liner notes.
“I decided to call it Pleasure because of the music”, says Fred Ball. “I just wanted to make a listenable, feel-good pop record, and I think I have.” Ball wrote, arranged and produced all tracks on his debut eponymous album.
Ball cites Michael Jackson, Prince, Yes, Van Der Graf Generator and The Residents as his musical influences. Without a trace of irony, Ball announces that “My hero is Rick Wakeman!”
How could an unknown Norwegian such as Ball persuade Frischmann, Harcourt, Mathews et al to contribute to his album? “I wanted to make an album and I started making one track after the other. I got all my friends to play on it and then I started sending CDs out to a few specific people as instrumentals, ideas, sketches. I knew a friend of Justine’s, so I sent her a CD and she said she’d do it. I thought she’d be perfect on that track.” Fred followed the same procedure when he approached Ed Harcourt and Cerys Matthews, who both replied in the affirmative.
Of the assorted singers, Fred says: “I think it gives the record a lot of different flavours really, and I’ve always liked that. I like good songs, good song writing. I can’t sing, I wish I could, which is why I had to get other people in.”
In addition to the highly profiled vocal assistance, Death In Vegas’ Tim Homes has remixed several of Pleasure’s tracks for future release.
The Pleasure album has picked up some rave reviews already. GQ’s verdict: “Producer Fred Ball might just be the boldest pop music you’ll hear this year.” The Sunday Times concludes: “Pleasure is all yours.”